NRM Draw Battle Lines, Vow To Win Butambala, Usuk

seek geneva; font-size: small;”>NRM has suffered defeat at the hands of opposition candidates in Luweero, information pills Jinja East, Lwego and recently in Kasese, among other by-elections in just one year.

This has led opposition shots especially Col. Kizza Besigye to deduce that NRM is politically at its weakest point and cannot win any election without rigging

However, government publicist Mary Karooro Okurut says “setback is not death for the party.” She also vows that NRM must emerge victorious in the upcoming Usuk and Butambala by-elections.

Below is her full statement issued on Monday.


Admittedly, the losses NRM has suffered in the by-elections cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet.

After losing these seats, critics of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) have been quick, celebrating the opposition victory, and turning into soothsayers, predicting the demise of NRM.

There are also some NRM faithful who wrongly think likewise, that the losses spell the death and demise of the party.

Another party might have ignored such losses, given the more than two-thirds majority that NRM enjoys in Parliament, not to mention the party dominance of the Local Governments and its more than seventy percent dominance of Local Councils, which gives the party leverage to take any action at both Legislative and Local Government levels.

But being a mass party, to the NRM, these were six bad days at the office, which have caused re-examination and analysis of the party dynamics rather than complacency.

Like a team with champion mentality that never goes to a game thinking of anything other than a victory, NRM’s election ideology is that we do not contest with intent to try our luck and see if fate will be kind or courteous to us. W

e enter every race to win it. Period!

This is why the party is into a soul-searching to understand why we have lost the races that we should have won hands down.

What shows that losing these by-elections is not a death knell for NRM?

First, there is on-going internal debate by NRM members, led by the Chairman himself – President Museveni.

We are analyzing the causes for the losing sequence, especially in areas which are traditional NRM strongholds.

The post-mortems have been elaborate and candid, leaving nothing to chance and no stone unturned.

This is something that has not been done by those who predict that the Titanic (we are that big and I thank them for the compliment in as far as the size and majesty of that historic ship are concerned) is sinking have not fully appreciated the actual reasons for the NRM losses in the by-elections.

As a matter of fact, most of the causatives are not externally generated; they can be internally rooted and solving them will involve largely internal action rather than external interventions.

The basic problem revolves around the lack of cohesion between several party members for various reasons, something that has caused the Chairman of the party to initiate reconciliation, not only ahead of the coming by-elections but as a continuous process in the party.

The lack of (not in percentages that cannot be managed) cohesion is in turn explained by both history and contemporary happenings.


Historically, the NRM has always been multi-ideological, allowing time and space for people with all kinds of political persuasions. This means there has never been homogeneity in ideology, meaning that to some extent differences during the bush war and after have always existed but sorted out with time.

Even after the bush war, the new administration formed a broad-based government, embracing even those who had not taken part in the liberation struggle.

Naturally some people in NRM asked why that was necessary. But the NRM leadership explained that this was critical for national unity and reconciliation.

For the party to allow the existence of multi-ideological groups within shows there is a lot of political dynamism in the Movement. You cannot get a more tolerant party than this!

The second challenge which is basically contemporary was partially created by the 2010 NRM primaries which, for the very first time, were carried out on the basis of universal adult suffrage. Admittedly, like anything being done for the very first time, there were some problems with the management of the process in some places, owing to the inexperience of the party with a task of this magnitude.

This created divisions within the party. The subsequent 2011 general elections (among the party members) were unfortunately occasioned by the ‘hang-over’ bad spirit which was carried forward from the primaries.

It was common then (and has also been the case of some of the by-elections) for NRM members to campaign for opposition candidates! This means that a good percentage of the increase in votes for the opposition has actually come from the NRM voters.

Opposition not strong

In short, it is not that the opposition has gained actual strength; rather more that the NRM has made some errors in judgment and developed cracks that the opposition has taken advantage of, to make some gains in Parliament.

Like some NRM Members confessed during some of the by-elections, they would vote for the opposition candidate and return to the NRM immediately after!

Of course we have a lot of explaining to do to our people on such an issue.

Luckily we have a chairman with a track record of diplomacy – peace-building and reconciliation, both at national and regional level. (See the East African August 11th , 2012; Museveni’s Diplomacy saves Congo Summit).


He is leading the way in restoring cohesion within the party, something that gives hope for the party in the forthcoming by-elections of Butambala and Usuk counties. Here, the party is already taking a completely different approach, entering the fray on a premise of tight cohesion.

Finally, the injection of youthful faces in the latest cabinet reshuffle has certainly lit up the party: members are upbeat that the party is in a process of regeneration, renewal and refreshment and flashing a beacon of hope for the future of the party

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